SINGAPORE — Two male Singaporeans, aged 34 and 26, were charged in court on Saturday (1 July) for laundering more than 50 reported cases of scams, after being arrested in Johor with a third man.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a media release on Monday that a total of three Singaporean males were involved in a transnational scam syndicate based in Johor. Besides the two men that were charged in court on Saturday, a third man is currently under investigation by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) for a separate offence committed in Malaysia.
The trio are believed to be responsible for laundering scam proceeds linked to more than 50 police reports of investment scams, job scams, E-commerce scams and government official impersonation scams in Singapore.
Preliminary investigations indicated that the three men presumably procured Singapore bank accounts through various chat platforms like Telegram and Facebook to launder the syndicate’s scam proceeds.
More than S$2.9 million have been reportedly lost by victims of these scams.
The two men were extradited to Singapore last Friday, and were charged under Section 51 of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992 for assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
The offence is punishable with a maximum fine of $500,000 and/or a jail term of up to 10 years.
How the arrest happened
Since April, joint investigations between the SPF and RMP had identified the money laundering syndicate from reported scam cases in Singapore.
On 26 June, SPF's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), as well as RMP's Bukit Aman and Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Departments (CCIDs), conducted a joint-operation raid at a Johor apartment complex.
The three male Singaporeans were arrested for their suspected involvement in managing cross border money transfers.
“Scammers need bank accounts from money mules to launder and move the scam proceeds out of Singapore in order to avoid detection and confiscation by the Police. They are constantly looking to procure more bank accounts to facilitate their money laundering activities," said Shee Tek Tze, CAD's deputy director.
"Members of the public are advised to ignore offers of quick monetary gains, including those on chat platforms such as Telegram or Facebook, in return for the use of your bank accounts."
Members of the public looking for scam-related advice can call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-7226688 or visit www.scamalert.sg. They can also join the "Let’s Fight Scams" campaign and sign up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages which they can share with family and friends.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.